The Tyees were the only AA team to form on Vancouver Island. They joined the men’s league for regular season play and had only one opportunity to participate in a AA tournament to size up the competition they would be facing at the Provincials in Prince George on Aug. 5-7.
The opening game against the Mission Twins showed that the home squad was definitely feeling some jitters. Falling behind 3-0 after three innings, the fortunes of the team seemed to change when Drew Savery made an incredible play stealing home.
The Tyees came alive in the fourth to take an 8-7 lead. Relief pitcher Devon MacLean froze the Twins offence holding them to just 2 runs into the sixth. Mission regained the lead but Owen Boyd’s first home run of the tournament was key in a five run rally in the seventh giving the Tyees a 13-9 victory.
Game two that afternoon proved to be the upset of the tournament. The Campbell River squad was the only team to take a win off the eventual provincial champions.
Cory Bukauskas pitched the entire game and backed by a solid defensive effort, the Tyees held the Prince George Knights to just 5 hits in a 7-3 victory. Catcher Haydyn Kierstead’s control of the play behind home plate consistently shut down the Knight’s attempts to steal bases. A clutch hit by Jared Baker kept the Tyee’s offence from stalling late in the game.
Game three matched the Tyees against the number one ranked Ladner Red Sox. The Tyees could not find a pitching antidote to the hard hitting offence of the Red Sox. In a game that took nearly 5 hours to complete as thunderstorms and heavy rain caused two delays, the Tyee’s only offence came in the second inning. A Sports Illustrated moment catch by Morgan Hayward shut down a four run Ladner inning in the third. The Tyees seemed to rally on that play and loaded the bases in the fourth and fifth innings but could not score and eventually fell 13-2.
The fourth game on Saturday against the Newton Giants was a must win for Campbell River. Newton jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and held it until the top of the third when the Tyees finally found their bats. An amazing catch on a line drive to second baseman Mathew Leard provided the inspiration the Tyees needed to generate some offence. Owen Boyd’s second hit over the fence was part of a six run inning to give the Tyees a 6-1 lead in the third. Starting pitcher Ben Wellman continued to shut down the Giants bats with the Tyees eventually taking an 11-1 mercy win in the sixth.
At the end of round robin play, Campbell River was in a 3 way tie for first place with Ladner and Prince George. Ladner carried the better offensive statistics and was declared first overall going into the semi-finals.
The Tyees and Prince George would have to play a tie breaker to decide who would move on.
Looking to avenge their earlier loss, the Knights were able to use the top of their pitching order and neutralized the Tyees bats early. Caelan Ostrosser rifled a relay throw from left field to third base for an eventual out at home plate that ended a second inning rally by the Knights. But the Tyees could not capitalize. Shane Lapp’s three RBI home run in the fourth inning was the only offence the Tyees could muster as they fell 13-3 to the eventual Provincial Champions.